This is a life changer in the Bitterroot! Please weigh in. So far there has not been a single person from the public speak in favor of Legacy City after several hundred attended and several dozens spoke at the several public comtment meetings. This does not mean you should not speak up because others are on it. Let's drive up the final score to see how many cirizens it takes to turn the Realty/development invested Commissioners around.
see Ravalli County website for contact numbers.
To: Ravalli County Planning Board and County Commissioners
From: Larry Campbell, Box 204, Darby, MT 59829
Re: Legacy ‘Ranch’ [City] subdivision review comments
I have many concerns about the Legacy City proposal. It would be hard to imagine a worse location, location, location for Ravalli County’s third largest city to be created: immediately adjacent and above the Metcalf Refuge, on prime agricultural land, perched above a very active aquifer, far from the source of law enforcement and other Ravalli County public services, close to the Bitterroot River, in the midst of some of the most biologically diverse wildlife habitat in our County.
But, I will narrowly focus my comments, trusting that many other residents will cover issues I leave aside. Specifically, I will advocate for Bull Trout. I do not know if there is a legal requirement to analyze and assess potential Legacy City threats to Bull Trout, an Endangered Species, but there is no doubt a moral requirement to do so, a covenant for some of us, inherited from Noah.
I ask that such an analysis be done by scientific experts. As a concerned individual it seems to me there could be a ‘perfect storm’ brewing in the background for Bull Trout.
The Bitterroot River is US Fish and Wildlife Service designated critical Bull Trout habitat.
The River is also listed as ‘impaired’ by the State of Montana because fails to support existing beneficial uses and fails to comply with the Clean Water Act. Therefore the State has imposed a ‘TMDL’ (Total Maximum Daily Load) prescription on the Bitterroot River that limits further degradation.
Very large volumes of Legacy City sewage would enter the ground and associated groundwater pollution would result, especially from solvents, pharmaceuticals, antifreeze, and other chemical compounds as well as phosphates and nitrates. The usual ‘dilution is the solution to pollution’ would be less effective in groundwater than in surface water
because of the lack of turbulence while flowing towards the river. There would be tremendous water drawdown from the hundreds of wells in Legacy City reducing the volume of clean water to dilute the pollution, especially in the fall.
I believe Bull Trout prefer to spawn in redds swished into clean gravel in areas with cool upwelling spring/groundwater at the bottom of the river. It seems reasonable to expect that polluted groundwater from Legacy City could be injected into the river, possibly directly into Bull Trout redds.
Bull Trout spawn in these redds in the fall. The groundwater pollution would likely be worst in fall when the groundwater is being pumped fastest (for lawn irrigation, kiddy pools, car washing, etc.) reducing dilution. This particularly potent groundwater pollution flush would reach the redds at a time when surface river water is also low and less able to dilute.
If the Legacy City proposal is permitted it will mean that there are no meaningful criteria to limit or prohibit subdivision damage to public interests in Ravalli County. Rational response to that situation would be to eliminate this sham of subdivision review and to enact stronger regulation of the reckless freedom for a few to irrevocably damage the greater public interests of our home land.
Sincerely, Larry Campbell
Mr. Cummins, just because you and other incorporated farmers would not be able to pay for politicians under the guise of your corporation, you would still be able to under your guise of being a human person. Why should you be able to do both? Remember the one man one vote concept?. It had to do with being human and being fair and democratic. Those quaint concepts are at the heart of the issue.
Congratulations Alyx Steadman. You are one gutsy dude. Bias and anger/hate pervade the Bitterroot like knapweed. It is usually proportionate to the self-esteem of the perpetrator. With the type of bias discussed in the article it often seems proportionate to the gender security of the perps. Thank you for your courage Alyx. I believe courage is derived from heart...
Senator Tester's bill has been sold as a conglomeration of several separate collaboration efforts, including the Beaverhead "Partnership" - which was an arrangement made by several purported conservation groups and several sawmills. In fact Senator Tester's bill does not capture the Partnership agreement. Many changes were made.
Keeping in mind, MWA is - to date - a strong supporter of the Tester bill, they nevertheless brought to light stark erosion of wilderness conservation between the Partnership and the Tester bill. (not limited to the following examples)Tim Baker's additional Montana Wilderness Association testimony to the Senate Hearing included the following:
West Big Hole (two units, 44,084 acres total)
“The Partnership strategy proposed a contiguous 92,800 acres of wilderness…Senator Tester has cut the acreage by approximately 50,000 acres and created north and south wilderness units, surrounded by a West Big Hole National [permanently motorized] Recreation Area.”
West Pioneers (two units, 25,742 acres total)
“The original Partnership strategy contained 34,000 acres of wilderness, out of approximately 150,000 acres contained in the West Pioneer WSA, and did not include any release from WSA status…over 8,000 acres of wilderness were cut from this proposal, the wilderness was bifurcated into two discrete units, those areas were surrounded with a West Pioneer [permanently motorized] Recreation Area, and the entire area was released from WSA status.”
“Senator Tester dropped approximately 14,000 acres [from the Partnership proposal]
Not only is the loss of wildland acreage quite significant, the bilogical/ecological function of individual Wilderness areas are dramatically reduced by this piece-meal approach.
The arguements about permanent Wilderness designation and permanent taxpayer subsidized logging rights on public forest are misplaced. Legislation is debateably permanent. What is more permanent is extirpation of a species, like wolverine, mountain goats, lynx or fisher and loss of wildlands. They ain't makin any more wildlands. All the kings horses and all the kings men can not put this humpty dumpty back together again. It's been pretty much a one-way street between Partnership and Tester Bill for loss of wildlands. And now the changes proposed by Senator Tester continue that trend. Wilderness has become the feast at a wreck-creation feeding frenzy. Snowmobilers and mountain bikers are each taking their bites out of wilderness.
How bad does the Bill have to get before the purported conservation groups withdraw their endorsements? It is apparent by now that the Bill will not be getting any better for Wilderness, if the announced changes are made it will get worse. The question for wilderness in Montana right now is, When will the national and state groups with wilderness in their names finally live up to their names??
I have been warned about getting into a pissing match with a skunk, so I am a bit nervous to venture in. I have seen that conservation critics of Testers logging Bill are personally set upon by the conservation collaborationists. However, I am a passionate advocate of wilderness and, being from Darby, have developed some thick skin over the years. So here goes...
I can honestly say that many individual conservationists and some local conservation groups that have been actively protecting wildlands on the Beaverhead Deerlodge NF for many years were not invited to the table or even informed in a timely way of the B-D 'Partnership'. Friends of the Bitterroot, one group that I am familiar with, has 21 years of blood sweat and tears (not to mention tens of thousands of dollars) invested in protecting wildlands on the B-D NF, our backyard. We were never invited to the table of the 'partnership' collaborationists or for the making of Tester's sausage. The wildlands we helped to protect have been seized upon by a few, mostly more distant groups, as political poker chips.
We have tried to influence Tester's Bill, to improve it through meeting with staff and a letter to Tester. We have received zero indication that any of our thoughtfull and considered comments have been taken to heart.
This is no way to run a National Forest. Oddly, as a long-time critic, I find myself defending the Forest Service's way of managing the forest. They use science and an open public process that does not depend on who you are friends of. You just need to be a citizen of America. Tester's wildland logging Bill legislatively usurps the perogatives of scientific management by the Forest Service. It does so to primarily advance the interests of local commercial interests. It locks in motorized use PERMANENTLY in some areas...no matter the environmental costs to wildlife, etc. It mandates taxpayer subsidized, unsustainable logging, even if there is no market. (Where are the teabaggers?)
The notion of arrogance and lack of humility brought up by Adam in reference to the personalities of critics of Tester's Bill is almost laughable given the hubris of humans in general and their blind arrogant abuse of nature. It is this cultural lack of humility that will be our undoing.
Wilderness is an ancient legacy that is too important to trade for a highly persishable hash of pork.
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